Soon the packaged foods and beverages you buy will feature a revised Nutrition Facts Panel (NFP) intended to provide clearer information about things like ingredients, daily values, and serving sizes. The goal is to help Americans make healthier choices about what they eat, but one of the proposed changes—if implemented—may have the opposite effect.
The International Food Information Council (IFIC) recently conducted an online survey of more than 1,000 adults to determine whether or not including a line for “Added Sugars” on the new NFP would be beneficial, but researchers believe the distinction may cause more confusion than clarification. That’s because many consumers are still unclear about what added sugars really are.
The term added sugars refers to the sugar added to processed foods and beverages as they are being made. This includes natural sugars (such as honey and fruit sugar) as well as processed sugars such as high-fructose corn syrup. Added sugars have no nutritional value and have been linked to health risks such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Even with the distinction, survey results indicated that consumers—even those who said they typically read NFPs—still had a hard time accurately identifying how much sugar was in each product. Many were also unsure about whether or not the sugars in an “Added Sugars” line were included in the total amount of sugar for a product (currently listed as just “Sugars”).
As we await the impending label changes, this new survey spotlights the need to improve public education about added sugars and the dangers of a high-sugar diet. “Consumer understanding of added sugars on the Nutrition Facts Panel is limited,” said study co-author Marianne Smith Edge, who believes better education is critical to help people make informed choices about their diet and health.
After years of getting a bad rap, it seems eggs are finally getting some of the positive press they deserve. Eggs are an excellent source of protein, along with beneficial amino acids, B vitamins, and healthy fats. But if that’s not enough, three recent studies may inspire you to add an omelet or two to your weekly menu—or to top that healthy salad with a little hard-boiled goodness.
- Reduced Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Researchers in Finland recently found that eating eggs was associated with a decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, possibly because eggs contain beneficial nutrients that play a role in healthy glucose metabolism. In a study involving more than 2,300 middle-aged men, those who ate approximately four eggs weekly had a 37% lower risk of type 2 diabetes than those who ate only one egg a week.
- Healthy Weight Management
An Australian study recently recruited 140 overweight men and women to study the effects of eggs on healthy weight management. Participants were divided into two groups—those who ate fewer than two eggs per week and those who ate two eggs a day, six days a week. Both groups were encouraged to eat similar amounts of protein, but those in the high egg consumption group said they weren’t as hungry overall and reported feeling more satisfied after meals.
- Better Absorption of Key Nutrients
A new Purdue University study determined that adding eggs to your salad may increase the absorption of the beneficial nutrients found in raw veggies. More than a dozen participants were asked to eat three different versions of a mixed-veggie salad: one with no eggs, one with one and a half eggs, and one with three eggs (each containing an even mixture of yolk and egg white). When eggs were added, researchers saw a notable improvement in the absorption of nutrients called carotenoids. Carotenoids—including beta-carotene and lycopene—are antioxidants and linked to better health and reduced inflammation.